Tory Loughton slams Liberal Democrats for blocking Tory marriage tax break

We know that the Tories went on and on before the election about how they were going to reward marriage in the tax system.

We know that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats don’t think much of this idea.

We know that since the Coalition Government was formed that no such marriage tax break has been introduced.

It was therefore not unreasonable to conclude that the Liberal Democrats have stopped the Tories from implementing their prized policy.

But now we have confirmation of that from Tim Loughton who until the reshuffle was Children and Families Minister. In today’s Telegraph, he is quoted as decrying the Liberal Democrats for being “anti-family”.  He said:

There have been times when the good intentions by the Conservative party have been frustrated by Liberal Democrats who I think do not quite get it on family.

In too many cases they think that the notion of family is a bit of a throwback to the 1950s. Family reinvents itself in different forms but what family stands for is more important now than what it was back in the 1950s and should not be viewed upon as something that is quaint and out of date.

In fact, Liberal Democrats do get it on family. We know that you don’t have to be married to have a stable, happy family life. We think it’s ridiculous to give a special tax break just for being married. What happens when one partner leaves that marriage to be with someone else, for example? The family they leave loses the tax break. That doesn’t seem fair or right. The idea that people would enter into or stay in a marriage for £150 a year is ridiculous and it would be a massive waste of money.

We might not get the narrow, Tory vision of family life, but that’s a good thing.

It’s clear that without the Liberal Democrats to stop them, the Tories would waste money on a marriage tax break while taking housing benefit from under 25s. Britain would be a place where the Government determines the number of children you can have if you are poor. I thought that sort of thing only happened in China.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '12 - 9:38pm

    I find it absurd that the standard Liberal Democrat line seems to be to dismiss marriage as some sort of embarrassing hangover from the past which must be wiped out by abolishing any special rights it may incur, and then insists it’s such a hugely important thing that it must be offered to gay people under exactly the same name.

    I actually do think it makes sense to have some sort of legally binding agreement that people agree to when they co-operate to produce children, and having tied themselves down in this way should be offered some sort of reward for making that mutual support agreement. Mutual support rather than relying on the state for support seems to me in general to be a good thing. When it comes to environmental measures we’re all in favour of taxes which encourage people to do goof things, aren’t we?

    However, on your last bit Caron, yes. In effect fining people for something that can happen by accident is really very nasty, especially when that something is a child. Or are they going to ban poor people from having sex or forcibly sterilise them to stop it happening by accident? Or never mind cutting the time when abortion is allowed, if having a kid is to get yourself fined like this, maybe the Tories should legalise infanticide to let people caught with an extra kid on their hands get out of it. This seems to me to be a natural corollary to their suggested policy on this matter.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Oct '12 - 9:39pm

    Freudian slip there, I think.

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